The TreeHouse has a very pleasant, inviting charm to the exterior. A number of children’s paintings are finely illustrated on the side of the building, denoting different animals or objects that correlate to a particular alphabet letter. At the front of the store large glass windows display festive summer play things that catch the eye. The edifice is conveniently located on the corner of 793 Elmwood Ave. and Auburn Avenue, lending it an eye-popping quality. With its creative colors and positive vibe, the store has a subtle ability to catch and hold one’s attention.
Upon entry, a gentle bell sounds. My senses were enveloped in an array of visual delights, and stacks of intriguing toys and playthings entered my line of sight. These ranged from scooters to air rockets, all the way to plush toys. On the left were neatly stacked shelves of models. Knights dressed in colorful armor, dragons and catapults ready for battle. The small warriors were so lifelike it seemed as though they might hop off the shelves at any moment.
Most of the toys toward the front consisted of outdoor entertainment. Unique Frisbees, Ziplines, Nerf-style bow-and-arrow sets, rockets, planes and more filled the shelves.
The “science” section features creative experiments and nature-based exploration kits. An animal call device, outdoor exploration equipment and even a backyard base shelter. Spy watch gear, magic sets and experimental science supply kits rounded out much of the rest of the area. A couple of my favorites were the “Demolition Triple Blast” and the “Extreme Secret Formula Lab.” The latter being described as an abundance of glow-in-the-dark powder so kids can concoct experiments that glow, ooze and stink up the kitchen and the former as a kit where one applies the sciences of power, force, momentum and gravity to construct and demolish any number of warehouse-type buildings. Sounds great right?
But there’s plenty more for the whole family. Closer to the register are countless board games and other interactive, group-focused brain teasers. Be it through teamwork, memory or competition, this selection offers plenty of unique games.
Furthermore, on the adjacent wall is a large display of Playmobil sets. From pirate scenes to helicopters and dragons with castles, this diverse collection spans from virtually floor to ceiling.
Across the way and on the opposite side of the room is the register. All purchases receive complimentary wrapping with an assortment of colorful ribbons and the store’s trademark paper. Under the checkout area is a large fish tank with a number of lively underwater creatures moving about.
On both sides of the tank are an innumerable number of toy-filled bins. Inexpensive novelty items or more complex, intricate toys are displayed in an entertaining fashion. These items span a wide range of entertainment from “poppers” meant to be thrown at the ground to a no-batteries-needed, reverberating microphone. There are dozens of toys to choose from.
The back of the store is positively packed with toys, many of which are creatively hanging from the ceiling. Stuffed animals and others things meant for infants to young children can be found in this area. However, I must admit, even a boy approaching his high school graduation found more than a small amount of pleasure in the block-building area. I guess some things never change.
The TreeHouse is simply a great place to visit. With a friendly, inviting atmosphere and a fantastic staff, even adults will find it hard not to feel young again.
Landin Murphy is a senior at St. Mary’s High School.